The 26 year old woman, who is too scared to appear on camera, is not only afraid for her life but also fears what could happen to her family.
Early Thursday morning, the victim was awakened by the sights and sounds of her new car which she purchased just four days ago engulfed in flames.
Fire officials suspect arson. The victim is pointing the finger at her ex boyfriend who is currently before the courts for allegedly shooting her uncle a few weeks ago at the Spinners night club.
The victim says the alleged perpetrator may have been targeting her but instead shot her uncle who was attempting to settle a dispute between them.
She says her whole family is being threatened by the accused man.
The 26 year old woman fears she will lose her life if concerted action is not taken by the authorities. She says she was trapped in an extremely abusive relationship for eight years with her ex boyfriend; several times he beat her in public.
The petrified woman has survived countless failed attempts to get away from him.
The woman is appealing to authorities for help and expressed frustration over what she says were poor attempts by the police to deal with the matter.
She says her family is being threatened not only from her boyfriend but other individuals who he associates with.
She has pleaded to the authorities for protection and called on them to play a bigger role in the matter.
Her stepfather who lives with the victim says he feared their home would have also gone up in smoke.
He says he is continuously being harassed by the alleged perpetrator.
A grief stricken Dujon whose sister passed away Thursday evening is devastated by this additional burden. He says while his family was mourning the death of their loved one, their own lives were being put at risk.
VAT and health Story byWinston Springer
During Tuesday’s Senate debate on the VAT Bill Independent Senator Dr. Stephen King suggested allocating tax revenue generated by the mechanism to overhaul public health care services.
The pathologist proposes using VAT to promote healthy public policy, oversight and an expert panel to address a projected shortfall in funding for the operations of the new St. Jude’s and National Hospitals.
He also wants aid to support healthy food consumption to curb the incidence of non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and hypertension.
Dr. King claims the same fate which plagues the mental wellness centre; inadequate funding and resource capacity could befall the new institutions if state support is not forthcoming.
The former CMO hopes the VAT proceeds can also revive the Universal healthcare pilot project to meet the costs of medical treatment for diabetes and hypertension patients.
If it were left to Dr. King sugar, flour, rice and table salt would be excluded from the list of items exempt from VAT.
He wants to cut millions of dollars in subsidies for the commodities that although implicated in obesity and lifestyle diseases are a staple for low income earners.
Instead he suggests VAT funding to make wholesome food affordable and promote the consumption of vegetables and fruits which are included in the recently launched food based dietary guidelines for Saint Lucia.
The former Chief Medical Officer warns the cost of failing to invest in public healthcare could be detrimental to sustainable development and non-communicable diseases could be a drag on the economy.
Already diabetes and hypertension accounts for 8 percent or 100 million dollars of GNP. He says the St. Jude and the National Hospitals will also result in a considerable increase in recurrent expenditure.
A 2011 PAHO consultancy estimates the new national hospitals will cost 21 million dollars per annum to operate.
Ciceron fire Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
Agatha Tisson was in the upstairs apartment of her Ciceron home when she smelled smoke.
It was Wednesday afternoon and she was giving her six year old granddaughter a bath.
Tisson says she rushed downstairs to determine the source of the smoke.
One of her grandsons quickly alerted her they had been playing with matches.
Benjamin Tisson is Agatha Tisson’s son. He and his family live in the upstairs apartment of the house.
He said he received a call at work that something had happened.
When he learned of the fire his first worry was over his family’s safety. And while it is tragic the family has lost its home and belongings, the lives saved are far more important.
The Tisson family says the experience was traumatic, particularly for the two young boys who were in the downstairs area where the fire began.
Curious onlookers offered any assistance they could. Three men reportedly broke down a door and helped rescue one of the boys who was trapped inside. Fire personnel rushed to try to extinguish the fire before it caused further damage.
ECCO payout Story bySant Justin
The Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights (ECCO) has announced a record payout of royalties.
The organization now represents most of the territories in the OECS, and collects royalties from media houses which are paid to its members across the sub-region.
A record $450 thousand dollars will be paid to members of the fraternity. ECCO General Manager- Steve Etienne says while the compensation maybe large, the shares represent the type of music played in member states.
He says the majority of the payments will go to America and the UK. Etienne says in recent times artistes were not as dependent on royalties as they are now. He says the drop in record sales for the music industry has changed the outlook of entertainers.
Etienne says although ECCO is making headway in St. Lucia and Dominica there are outlets which are still non-compliant.
He says members of the St. Lucian music fraternity can expect the payouts of additional royalties in September and December.
ECCO is expected to disburse over half million dollars this years.
Inter-commercial competition Story byCarmy Joseph
Courts St Lucia’s Dorcia “Dee” Fenelon won the Inter-Commercial House Calypso Competition. Her calypso “Carnal in Carnival” gained the most favour with the judges.
The Inter-Commercial competition was held on Tuesday evening at the National Cultural Centre. Courts was followed in second place by Sharon “Sha Blaze” Alexander who represented the NIC and Ariana “Lady Activist” Arthur of the ECFH.
Coming in fourth was Jean “Janny-Jan” Farell from the Water and Sewerage Company. Cultural Field Officer – Tyrone Harris – says the competition attracted impressive support from the corporate community.
King and Queen competition Story bySant Justin
The annual King and Queen of the Bands activity will take place this year unhindered. Though three Carnival bands are now out of the race, the President of the Carnival Bands Association says site plans and infrastructure are at an advance stage.
Augier says a new site plan has been formulated which includes a new stage lay out, set to allow easier access to and from the stage.
He also sought to commend the participating bands and assured another great event.
Amongst the three absent, Augier says Mas Action will be the most missed. He says interest has been shown by a number of the remaining bands, including first timer Just 4 Fun.
Thursday nights activity will also include the Groovy Soca Monarch competition, where twelve competitors will vie for the crown.
Rituals will be defend their title of King and Queen of the bands at the event held at the Point Seraphine Shopping Complex.
Panorama Story bySarah Peter
Organizers of the annual Panorama competition say everything is set for Friday’s pan showdown. Panorama will be held this coming Friday July 13th at the Beausejour Cricket Grounds.
As many as ten pan sides are expected to compete in an event that forms past of Saint Lucia Carnival 2012.
This year’s Panorama was officially launched at the CDF conference Room on Tuesday afternoon.
Bands competing in this year’s event were also officially introduced to their sponsors. Chairperson of the Steel Band’s Association, Julian Calderon expressed gratitude to the sponsors for their contribution.
Panorama has three main sponsors, Telecoms Company LIME, St. Lucia Insurances and Bank of St. Lucia.
Garvin Neils, the Representative from Bank of St. Lucia says his organization is happy to part of an initiative which aids in the development of St. Lucians.
Courts Babonneau Steel is the defending Panorama champions. Among the pan sides looking to capture this year’s title is LIME Diamond Steel, Caribbean Metals Pantime and Northstars.
First Caribbean branch Story bySant Justin
Country Manager for CIBC First Caribbean International Bank Mauricia Thomas-Francis said the world class facility is the new trend in banking services being introduced by the bank across the region.
Similar service models have been opened in Barbados and the Bahamas and are being rolled out across the Caribbean.
The country manager described the banking facility at Mardini Rodney Bay as the best under one roof, one that could rival anywhere in the world.
The Managing Director for Retail and Small Business Rolf Phillips noted First Caribbean’s commitment to investing in tough economic times, signally its confidence in prospects for the market.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony also spoke at the CIBC First Caribbean grand opening, welcoming the modern suite of services.
He encouraged the bank to continue playing its part in helping to improve the business climate.
The ceremony culminated in an official ribbon cutting by the ECCB Governor and the Prime Minister, followed by group tours of the facility and a cocktail reception.
CIBC FirstCaribbean Mardini, is the third ultra-modern service model roll-out by the Bank within the Caribbean to date, and follows those of in the Bahamas, Barbados and Trinidad markets.
CIBC and First Caribbean International merged ten years ago. CIBC, a Canadian bank is rated by Bloomberg Magazine as the strongest bank in North America and 4th strongest in the world.
Youth forum Story byLovely St.Lovely Joseph
The Saint Lucia National Trust will be hosting its 4th annual Youth Environment Forum (YEF) from July 23 - 27, focusing on the World Environment Day theme “Green Economy: Does it include you?”
The aim of the weeklong program is to empower youths to become advocates for environmental and heritage conservation.
Communications and Advocacy Officer, Karetta Crooks Charles, says the forum helps the Trust fulfill two of its objectives; to advocate and promote conservation and to build self-esteem and a love of the country through the appreciation of the island’s heritage. Charles says youth have to date responded well to the program.
Like last year, the Forum, will be hosted simultaneously in the north and south of the island.
Interested participants are encouraged to download a YEF application form from slunatrust.org and submit it to the Trust’s headquarters at the Pigeon Island National Landmark or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles says there will be much in store for the participating youth including field trips.
Charles says the Trust will be collaborating primarily with the Sustainable Development and Environment Division in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology but will include other partners like the Caribbean Youth Environment Network and Caribbean Student Environmental Alliance.
Other agencies in the environmental field will also be targeted to engage the youngsters with interactive presentations and exiting field trips.
Abused woman speaks
VAT and health
King and queen competition
First Caribbean branch
Subventions from government are paid to all aspects of Saint Lucia Carnival. That means taxpayers subsidize everything from bands, to shows and community events. The cash injection is in addition to the bulk funding provided by government to the entity that manages the festival – for the past two years that has been the Stakeholder Committee and before them it was the CDF. Three Carnival bands including the reigning Band of the Year have dropped out of competition due in part to funding constraints. Other associations like the National Carnival Queen Committee and tent leaders have lamented dwindling sponsorship dollars and the need for government funding.
But is it fair to expect Saint Lucians to pay for a product they ultimately have to purchase in the way of costumes, tent shows and events?
Is it realistic for Carnival stakeholders to expect government to subsidize their contribution to the festival?